Ever been bullied on the road by another vehicle using blinkers and sirens?
The Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) will be going after motorists using unauthorized emergency blinkers and sirens commonly referred to as 'wang wangs'. This follows a recent reminder from President Rodrigo R. Duterte to crack down on unauthorized use of emergency lights and sirens.
"We are specifically relaunching yung Operation Tokhang vs. Wangwang," said Police Chief Supt. Arnel Escobal, PNP-HPG Director.
“The public may reach us through our hotline 7444-474, calling on complainants to give details including license plate numbers of motor vehicles that illegally use these lights and sirens,” Escobal added.
The police force will also be working closely with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to see if unauthorized sirens and lights are attached, according to PNP chief Oscar Albayalde.
"Nakikita natin na naabuso talaga itong mga wangwang at naiinis na rin ang ating mga kababayan (We see that these emergency signaling devices are being abused and this irritates the public)," Albayalde said.
As stated under Presidential Decree 96 (PD 96):
1. That it shall be unlawful for the owner or possessor of any motor vehicle to use or attach to his vehicle any siren, bell, horn, whistle, or other similar gadgets that produce exceptionally loud or startling sound, including domelights, blinkers and other similar signalling or flashing devices.
2. The gadgets or devices mentioned above may be attached to and use only on motor vehicles designated for official use by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, National Bureau of Investigation, Land Transportation Commission, Police Departments, Fire Departments, and hospital ambulances.
Any device or gadget installed or mounted on any motor vehicle or otherwise used in violation of this decree shall be subject to immediate confiscation and, in cases of a second and subsequent offenses, the offender shall be prosecuted for violation of this Decree before the military tribunal and, upon conviction thereof, shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment for six months and/or a fine of 600 pesos. In addition, the certificate of registration of the motor vehicle on which the unauthorized gadget or device herein mentioned is installed, mounted or used shall be cancelled or revoked.
Under the same mandate, vehicles of politicians, their 'entourage' or 'support vehicles' are likewise not allowed to use these devices as they are not included in the list of vehicles allowed to use them.
The PNP-HPG in tandem with the LTO, is considering visits to vehicle owners who are using these unauthorized lights and sirens and request them to voluntarily surrender the devices. However this may be a tall order as the 1,500 strong PNP-HPG will need an estimated 7,000 more personnel to enforce its mandate.
The PNP-HPG also revealed their first four Multi-Purpose Patrol Vehicles for high risk vehicle intervention and hot pursuit, search and rescue, and disaster relief.
Based on a Mitsubishi Montero Sport SUV, the new patrol vehicles are equipped with steel bumpers, all terrain tires, winches, flood traversing equipment, advanced first aid equipment, as well as a holding area for suspected criminals.
According to Escobal, the initial four units will be deployed in the National Capital Region they are looking to provide similar vehicles for their provincial units.